Robert O'Callaghan's Rockford Basket Press Shiraz is one of the Barossa Valley's most important wines. It entered Langton's Classification of Australian Wine in 2000 and was promoted to the highest – 'Exceptional' – category in 2005.
It is sold almost exclusively to Rockford's own mailing list customers and is rarely made available to the retail market.
Basket Press manages to combine the concentration and power of the traditional Barossa Shiraz style of the 1950s and '60s with the supple freshness of contemporary winemaking.
It has achieved its high status in a relatively short time: the first vintage was 1984.
Rockford’s squat, high–shouldered brown bottle - reminiscent of 1940s red wine packaging - is instantly recognisable.
Medium crimson. Intense perfumed Turkish delight/musky/plum chocolate aromas. Beautifully concentrated wine with blackberry/ Turkish delight/ plummy fruit intertwined with fine soft lacy/chocolatey tannins, finishing long and fruit sweet. An incredibly well poised wine showing neither opulence nor restraint. Andrew Caillard MW (2002).
Dark and earthy, but with some juicier raspberry fruit underneath and choc-liquorice coming up with air. Some rosy vanilla oak still noticeable. It’s still holding plenty of fruit which became increasingly sweet and seductive as the wine opened up. Fresh with a lick of dryish tannin but a pretty supple sort of wine all in all. I thought there was initially a slightly mouldy cork derived flavour in this bottle, although it lessened as the fruit came forward, which I’m ignoring in the score. Ready now, but plenty left in the tank for this vintage, subject to performance of the cork.
95 points, The Wine Front (September 2009)
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.